April 14th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
4 years ago

DNC sues FEC in effort to block McCain spending

 DNC Chairman Howard Dean.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic Party on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Federal Elections Commission seeking to force the group to investigate whether John McCain has violated federal spending limits for his primary campaign.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court in Washington, is the latest move by the Democratic National Committee that seeks to prove the Arizona senator locked himself into campaign spending limits earlier this year when he used the prospect of $6 million in federal matching funds as collateral for a December bank loan to his campaign.

The DNC first filed a complaint with the FEC in February, arguing then that McCain should be forced to accept the matching funds - and the spending limits that come with it.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean said that McCain not only used the prospect of the funds as loan collateral, but he also accepted automatic ballot access in every state - an advantage given to those who accept federal matching funds. (Those who do not accept federal matching funds are forced to gain ballot access themselves - a task that can cost millions of dollars.)

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Filed under: Howard Dean • John McCain
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Uncle Sam

    Chairman Dean's weekly smears of John McCain will backfire, resulting in a victory for Sen. McCain in November.

    Americans for McCain '08

    April 14, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. HP Boston

    Obama will waste that money he has no chance in the GE.
    Give all 168k to McCain he will need it !

    April 14, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Down Home Dave

    McCain's whining about how, as a good "Daddy Warbucks" Republican, he is sooooooooo much in favor of pulbic financing of elections! Sure! How ironic that his own tactic could backfire on him! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!

    April 14, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Crystal CA

    Whatever... Howard Dean is the President of B. Obama's fan club. Just as McCain started to point out that Obama will go back on his word about accepting public funds, Dean comes out with this, because McCAin made his precious Obama look deceitful.

    April 14, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. AJ, IL

    It's about time! I wondered how long the DNC would sit on its butt while McCain's campaign financing went unchallenged!

    April 14, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. David, Santa Maria, CA

    While the Democrats commit political suicide due to two egomaniacs vying for the nomination, Tricky Howard is trying to use back door legal trickery to silence the Republicans during this infighting. That party is so dirty, it is sickening.

    April 14, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. Keating Five Victim

    Every time I hear McCain talk about honesty in government, I laugh (and cry).

    Do you remember the Keating Five Savings and Loan scandal?

    McCain says he "learned" from that "mistake."

    So did I. I, also, "learned" from HIS mistake!

    Took me 25 years to recover financially!

    Who do you think I will vote for this year?

    April 14, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Paris

    Another desperate act by DNC.
    This is typical of DNC and Howard Dean.
    If your candidates lack character is not McCain’s fault.

    April 14, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Derrick, Atlanta GA

    How can McCain accuse someone of "flip-floping" when the person haven't done it, and he is the one that is currently doing it. Like Obama says about the so called "eltist comments" " I can expect that from sombody like John McCain."

    People who think logically for Obama!

    April 14, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. HYPOCRACY 08

    I am no McCain fan... but I did find it odd when Tom McMahon, the DNC's executive director said in a statement Monday. "So he could ignore the spending cap and raise unlimited money from lobbyists and special interests," when Obama has three times the funds raised than McCain... Guess the special interests aren't as good as they used to be!

    April 14, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Jim

    Doesn't surprise me. The Democratic Party leaders are down right worried. They know they have two candidates who are acting like irresponsible children and reveal no capacity in leading this country. They also know that those Americans with any common sense and the ability of logical thinking are questioning their candidates credentials. So to cover their trail they now have to go after McCain at any angle they can. What a bunch of political losers. I am one who also thinks we need some grown-up and intelligent change in this country, but the two Democrat morons scare the hell out of me.

    April 14, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Richard

    John McCain has alot of explaining to do. Poor old man better invest in depends.

    April 14, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Dean is right on this one. John McCain had previously attempted to get out of this and the only way he will be able to do so if the dates of the loan are changed. That in itself would be fraud.

    April 14, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    Howard Dean is almost like Mr. Clinton he need to be quiet. Could be the DNC is worried about something.

    April 14, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. Belle - Seattle

    Will the DNC make sure Obama sticks to his pledge then?

    April 14, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. Karen, Branson

    The media should do more to point this out about McCain. Ask McCain more questions about this issue instead of playing him out to be a "good guy" all the time.

    McCain can't talk about anything other than his war stories and Iraq. Beyond that, he stumbles. The media has been so busy about dragging the DNC down, it's McCain's turn to come under the microscope. How about his horrible tempers?

    April 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. HEIDI

    GET EM DEAN....

    April 14, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. DM. Arlington Texas

    There's been a lot of talk about photos of Jack Abramoff and George Bush, but Hillary Clinton has her own photo problems. For example, there's the photo of Bill and her standing next to illegal fundraiser Johnny Chung signed by HRC, "To Johnny Chung with best wishes and appreciation." Chung reportedly funneled several hundred thousand dollas from Chinese military intelligence to Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign. As Chung put it once, "I see the White House is like a subway - you have to put in coins to open the gates." He was talking about the $50,000 he gave Hillary Clinton's top aide while seeking VIP treatment at the White House.

    April 14, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. PJ, New York Independent

    Richard, you said: John McCain has alot of explaining to do. Poor old man better invest in depends.

    You must be an Obama supporter, what a moron! If you don't have anything intelligent to say, please do us all the favor and don't post a comment.

    April 14, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. Pam

    It would also be really nice to know why tax payers are forced to fund his traveling all over the world promoting himself!!

    April 14, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. Mike

    McCain made the pledge (but never took the money) and only backed out when Obama who pledged in writing to take public financing decided it wasn't in his best interest. It's great watching the Democrats tear themselves apart, and you really think we want anyone from your party running the country. The best part will be in November (just remember 1972) what people say to your face does not alway's equate to what they do behind the curtain. As for Obama his core group is 18-30 year olds, and what percentage of that group will miss the vote. Republicans and your 35-70 core group do not miss elections.

    April 14, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Tim

    They shouldnt bother forcing him into anything. They should just use it as an issue come November. McCain is a pathetic fundraiser. Obama will absolutely crush him in money raised.

    April 14, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The FEC sets the rules of who gets the money and how. A candidate can't say I want it and then no. That shows poor planning in the campaign and knowledge of the rules. If the FEC says that McCain signed up, it is up to them to say that he can pull out. It is as simple as that.

    April 14, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Kelly

    To Pam, McCain saved the taxpayers 70 million by not taking secret service. Obama and Clinton have both gone on overseas trips too.

    McCain never gave certification to the bank to use it as collateral. McCain didn't take one dime of the money. Dean backed out of the system the same way. So did Kerry. The system is voluntary if you don't take any money you can back out any time. McCain purposefully didn't use the certifaction of public funds as collateral. McCain did everything the right way and backed out the right way. Reid and the dems are holding up the FEC so McCain won't be able to get 84 million for the general election.

    April 14, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Randy - Denver

    Actually Mr. McCain used his "pledge" as collateral for a loan, this means this "pledge" is something he is Contractually liable for, he now has decided, since he has raised the money, that he no longer needs to follow the words of the contract, this is where the lawsuit lays. If he used the matching funds as "collateral" he is then required to get the matching funds and if he gets the matching funds he has to follow the rules he helped put in place. If he did NOT use the funds as "collateral" than he is not obliged to use matching funds and therefore can continue to raise monies. So the simple question is were matching funds used as collateral for the loan or not. I believe, based only on a small amount of research, that the monies were used as collateral and therefore he is obliged to get matching funds and follow those rules. It is basically like asking for a home loan, using the house you are to buy as collateral, and then NOT buying the house with that money( say because you inherited lots of money) but still paying the home loan back on the payment plan per the contract

    April 14, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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